When the President of the United States comes to Asheville, does he rent an Asheville cabin? Not exactly. With his secret service entourage, Obama needs very large accommodations. The White House announced last week that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will visit Asheville this weekend, April 23rd to 25th, and they plan to stay at the historic Grove Park Inn. Accompanying him on this pleasure trip in addition to his wife will be his children, Malia and Sasha, as well as his mother in law.
Historic Grove Park Inn opened in 1913, built from granite boulders from Sunset Mountain. The inn lobby, The Grand Hall, features two 14 foot wide fireplaces. The Grove Park has hosted ten presidents, including Obama who stayed there when he last visited Asheville in October 2008, just prior to the November election.
The Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau notes that Asheville spends about $2.5 million annually to promote tourism in Asheville. They say that the publicity generated by a presidential visit like this one is priceless. A White House press release indicated that this is a vacation trip, with no scheduled public appearances. The Grove Park Inn issued a statement on Facebook indicating that the resort will be operating in a heightened state of security for the weekend with all persons and vehicles subject to search.
On his last visit to Asheville, Obama made a lunch stop at 12 Bones Smokehouse. If you are hoping for a glimpse of the first family, you might consider dropping in at some of the more popular spots in town. Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe comes to mind. On second thought, if you have rented your own Asheville cabin from Greybeard Realty for the weekend, you might just want to hunker down, avoid the crowds and enjoy the peaceful mountain views.